Ban “Notes” Calls to Replace UN Envoy Nambiar, Rohingya
May 20 -- With the UN's envoy to Myanmar Vijay Nambiar
openly refusing to speak with the press, despite a formal request
from the UN correspondents' association, the only way to learn the
specifics of his recent visit is to ask the Security Council
diplomats he spoke to, then ask the UN to confirm.
on May 20 asked
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky why Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon has not acted on what even Nambiar on May 20 reported to the
Council Aung San Suu Kyi has asked for: a full time replacement to
Nambiar as envoy.
that “the Secretary-General takes note of these suggestions, and
we’ll look at them in due course.” Some wonder when the course
will be considered due, given that replacement of Nambiar has been
suggested for months.
May 19 the
Assistant chief of the UN refugee agency UNHCR told Inner City Press
about the plight of the Rohnigya people left stateless by Myanmar.
Inner City Press asked her if Nambiar, Ban's envoy to Myanmar, does
anything on this issue. This she did not answer.
on May 20 asked Nesirky if Nambiar works at all on the issue. Without
providing any specifics, Nesirky said that “obviously we would have
concern for the treatment and position of any ethnic group.”
why then did
Nambiar not meet with ethnic minorities, nor speak about the
violations and ending of ceasefires in their areas by the government?
These are questions that Nambiar should take and answer, in the
press availability now requested by the UN correspondents'
Nambiar last time, Press excluded, new request not shown
May 20 transcript:
Press: I wanted to ask about Myanmar as well. Yesterday, Mr.
[Vijay] Nambiar didn’t end up taking any questions, but a member of
the Council of the United Kingdom, on the record, said that he
recorded that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told him that she would like to
see a full-time envoy, and the United Kingdom, as some other
countries have in the past, said they too would like to see a
full-time envoy, i.e., not Mr. Nambiar, who would be a part-time
envoy. So I wonder, one, can you confirm that that’s what Mr.
Nambiar said in the Council, given that a Council member said it? And
two, what’s the Secretariat’s response to the request by the
main democracy leader in Myanmar, that a full-time envoy be chosen,
selected and sent?
Press: Well, Mr. Vijay Nambiar conveyed to the Security Council
the gist of his conversations with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD
[National League for Democracy], and also conversations he had with
Myanmar's other political opposition groups, ethnic nationality
groups and representatives of civil society in Myanmar. And he has
also said — because I know that you’ve asked a number of
questions related to this, including the prisoner release — he also
said that, while the initial sentence reductions and resulting
release of some political prisoners is a small step in the right
direction, it has been short of expectations and is insufficient. And,
again, just to reiterate, during the visit, the United Nations
reiterated its call for the urgent release of all political
I think it is important to note that the real test would be
whether — or how quickly — the new climate can translate into a
change in content in Myanmar. And it would also be important to see
how the authorities concretely hold up to their own commitments and
respond to the United Nations’ various suggestions over the next
Press: there was a press conference here yesterday afternoon,
where an official of UNHCR was talking about stateless people and the
Convention on Refugees. And she spoke about the Rohingya being
repatriated to Myanmar, not being given citizenship papers. So, I
wanted to, it wasn’t clear to me, maybe you’re always… you said
that if something wasn’t in the statement, it doesn’t mean he
didn’t work on it or didn’t discuss it, but is… does he view
this problem of the… she says there is a million of them, stateless
Rohingya people in Myanmar; is part of this in any way related to his
mandate of good offices and if so, what does he think of the
Government’s treatment of them?
Well, obviously we would have concern for the treatment and position
of any ethnic group. And as I mentioned, Mr. Nambiar did convey to
the Security Council and outlined the conversations that he had with
the various groups and individuals, including ethnic nationality
groups, and of course with the authorities themselves.
Press: On this idea that both Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the United
Kingdom and others have said that a full-time, without… that a
full-time envoy would be better suited for the job…
Well, we’ve said before, because the last time there was a Group
of Friends meeting, a similar suggestion was made, and we’ve said
before that the Secretary-General takes note of these ideas,
proposals, suggestions, and we’ll look at them in due course.
when the course will be considered due, given that replacement of
Nambiar has been suggested for months. Watch this site.
* * *
for Myanmar UN Envoy Replacement for Nambiar, He
Brushes Off Press
19 -- After the UN Security
Council met Thursday about
Myanmar, UN envoy Vijay Nambiar explicitly refused to answer even a
single question from the Press.
out of the Council, Nambiar
made a brushing-away motion with his hand and disappeared down a
corridor. This despite a standing request by the UN Correspondents
Association that he hold a press conference and take questions.
Representative of the UK Mark Lyall Grant did speak to the Press. He
recounted that democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has suggested that
need for a full time UN envoy, adding that the UK “has long
believed that it would be good to have a permanent, full time envoy
to regularly visit” Burma.
that while Nambiar “felt the tone of what the government was doing
since the election was better, more open than it had been before,”
the UK sees “no effective response to key demands of international
dominated government has given “amnesty only just over two percent
of political prisoners, there are still over two thousand.” Lyall
Grant was dismissive of “taking one year off a sixty five years
sentence of student leaders, and the ninety three years given to Shan
“there has not yet been any inclusive dialogue with opposition
outside Parliament.” In the run up to Nambiar's trip, Inner City
Press asked without answer if he would be meeting with ethnic
has previously reported calls for a full time replacement to Nambiar
as envoy, by the UK along with former Security Council member Mexico
and others. But Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has made no move to
appoint a full time envoy, instead continuing to send his chief of
staff Nambiar to Myanmar, then refusing to take questions when he
Nambiar previously seen from behind, no Qs taken
has become resistant to taking questions from the press, at least in
New York. Despite multiple requests that he hold the promised monthly
press conference - the last was in January, four months ago -- Ban
has not held a press conference.
he last held
a shorter stakeout, he has for example said he was “relieved that
justice was done” in the killing of Osama bin Laden, a position
that differs from the UN's own human rights commissioner Navi
on May 18
granted an interview to one wire service, and used it to state that
if member states want him for a second term as Secretary General, he
is ready to serve.
spokesman Martin Nesirky declined Inner City
Press' request for a transcript. He said he would be getting
clarifications from Nambiar, but none has been given, including any
UN response to the Myanmar government prohibiting reporting of ASSK's
comments after meeting Nambiar, and on Myanmar's push to head ASEAN.
Watch this site.